The 19th century, a troublesome era for Louisiana

I know, we almost all hate History, but let’s make it concise and appealing to everyone with nice pictures! Everyone enjoys a good picture.

In 1803 the Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the United States
In 1803 the Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the United States

Here, you can see that Louisiana then was considerably bigger than what it is now. It represent what are now: Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa; most of Colorado, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming, as well as significant parts of North Dakota, Minnesota, Texas and Louisiana.

The United States were originally prospecting to buy New Orleans territory and the surroundings but President Jefferson was offered the whole French territory by Napoleon Bonaparte for a total of 15 million dollars. It doubled the size of the country.

Can you imagine, almost 900,000 sq miles for the price of Tom Cruise’s house in Hollywood? The cost of life is different from then, of course.

In 1840 the city was rated the fourth port in the world
In 1840 the city was rated the fourth port in the world

After a short war against the British in 1812, Louisiana experienced its golden age. New Orleans became a great cotton port thanks to its famous steamboats. In 1840 the city was rated the fourth port in the world.

The different ethnicities in New Orleans throughout the years

In 1803 New Orleans’ population was around 8,000, with a majority of whites. In 1810 the number of blacks, or ‘free people of color’ as they were referred to, considerably increased, due to the arrival of numerous Haitian refugees in 1809. By 1850, New Orleans population reached 116,000 and was mainly composed of immigrants.

New Orleans was the second city in the U.S. to experience such a huge immigration after New York City, there were mainly German or Irish but there were also Italian, Greek, Filipino, and Croatian.

As a result, diseases like the yellow fever killed thousands of people and the relations between Americans and the immigrants were really bad, so bad that they lived almost secluded in two distinct areas of the city and had separate municipal governments.

In 1861 Louisiana seceded from the Union and joined the Confederate States of America. But it was occupied by the army of the Union in 1862 until 1877 well after the state got back in the Union (1868).

From 1862 to 1898 Louisiana battled to have a new constitution. It was a tragic era of history, when former members of the confederates relied on groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the White League to pressure people and kill African Americans -who accessed the right to vote in 1870 – to defeat the Republicans.

Finally, in 1898 a new constitution was adopted, but it legalized discrimination and segregation.

By Clara Laeng

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